Any Difference Between Missionary and American Kids? by Allison H.

An Essay By Anonymous // 8/14/2000

Allison writes as a home schooling missionary kid living in

Many people think that normal "American" kids and missionary kids have either everything in common, or nothing in common. They think that a middle ground does not exist. However, in reality, missionary kids and American kids have a lot of similarities and also many differences. As a missionary kid, and as a teen who has seen American teens, I have noticed some things that I would like to share with you.

Missionary kids and American kids have several things in common. You see, both sides go through many of the same emotions, and "growing pains." Often people assume that missionary kids never go through stages of growing. Let me tell you from experience that as a missionary kid, I have gone through many of the same emotions that American kids got though. I hurt when others make fun of me, when I do not fit into a group, and when I am uncomfortable about myself. As missionary kids, we do not have an easy time making new friends, just like American kids, even though we might move often. Kids from both groups do not differ much in many ways, such as the ones that I just mentioned. Perhaps one of the biggest similarities between American and missionary kids has to do with belief in God. It does not matter whether the kid or teen comes from an American-working family or a missionary family. Every kid will eventually have to embrace
or reject Christ.

Now as for the differences between American kids and missionary kids, this could quite easily become very long. Although both American and missionary kids go through many of the same emotions and worries, they also go through different ones. For instance, often many of the worries that American teens experience, missionary kids never experience. Often missionary kids worry about things that American kids would never dream of. I doubt that you will find many American kids who have to worry about getting a residency card (green card), or getting their passport stolen. In some instances, missionary kids have to constantly worry about their very life.

American kids tend to have a much narrower view of the world, whereas missionary kids, and many other third-culture-kids, for that matter, have a much larger, broader view of things. Many times, because of this broader view, missionary kids often have the opportunity to bridge the gap between American kids and other cultures. I find this aspect very unique. Another unique difference between American kids and missionary kids has to do with where they consider home as, and where they feel most comfortable. Kids from America often feel uncomfortable and out of place in countries other than their own. Missionary kids usually feel comfortable in any country, culture, or language, with the exception of a few. Sometimes missionary kids feel the least at home in America!

I could go on and on about all of the similarities and differences between an American kid and a missionary kid, but I need to end now. Missionary kids and American kids will never totally seem alike. Differences will always show up. However, although one group may have strong points in one area, the other group may have strong points in another area. These two groups can compliment each, or they can totally alienate themselves from each other. Personally, I think that we as missionaries can learn from American kids, but American kids also can learn a lot from missionary kids. Although differences do exist, so do similarities. We can work together.


so true

wow, you are SO right!! I am a missionarry kid in the PHilipines. I go to Faith Academy. Whenever we go on furlough i always feel out of place. thanks for writing this!!

Anonymous | Mon, 10/01/2007

Missionary kid from India

I really enjoyed reading this article about American kids and missionary kids. I am a missionary kid to India. I understand all you wrote about missionary kids.

Anonymous | Tue, 02/12/2008

Missionary kid to Spain

Wow, thats so true!
I was in Germany the other day, and I woke up thinking i was at "home" but when ever im in the states, i feel so out of place, i dont know how to use the money or anything. But then if im in switzerland i feel so at home... Weird huh? I thought i was the only one.
Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous | Tue, 07/22/2008

You're right.

you are very right. I'm a MK in Honduras and have been since i was 2yr. old. Yes, i can feel at home in many countries, so when people ask me where i consider home i tell them anywhere on the mission field.

Anonymous | Mon, 12/01/2008


What you said is very true for many MKs, however i think there are a group of us MKs who are overlooked a lot. There are some of us who would prefer to live in America. I am one of them. I just came on the mission field last year (in 7th grade) and have been here one and half years, and I would love to go back and live in America. I really struggle with living here, and just would like to say to try to be sensitive to those of us who don't consider a place other than our passport country a home. :)

Anonymous | Sun, 12/28/2008

both sides

As a 7th grader in America i feel that i agree with Mks who feel they like this post aand those who would like to live in America. I see how one of you might get mad that im posting this but im just really interested in missionary kids, and sometime i think i now how you feel when you have to move alot. You probably dont want pity but im just saying. i was just thinking of a question....but i dont want to be rude or hurt anyones feelings. So if you dont want to just dont. (end of this post). And you are most diffently right about American kids and MKs going about the same feeling,growing up and emotions. We are basically almost the same when it comes to it.

i REALLY hope you all the best!! :]



what countries do you think, you've been to, were you met the most American children?


Do you attend American schools?


                                                                                                                      Thanks so much :]

Anonymous | Wed, 09/29/2010


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